Author Archives: Stephen

Quote of The Week – Thank You Rudy The Confused

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Reported by The Guardian:  ‘Truth isn’t truth’: Giuliani trumps ‘alternative facts’ with new Orwellian outburst

When the definitive history of Donald Trump’s presidency comes to be written, many years hence, 11.02am on Sunday 19 August 2018 will surely be granted a special mention.

It was the moment when the phrase was coined that might be said to sum up the spirit of the Trump era: “Truth isn’t truth.”

The punch line:

Giuliani said: “When you tell me [Trump] should testify because he’s going to tell the truth so he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth.” … And then it came, like manna from heaven, the glorious mantra for which Trump’s White House has been waiting so long.

“No, it isn’t truth!” Giuliani roared. “Truth isn’t truth.”

Farewell statement from John McCain

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Published August 27, 2018

The following farewell statement from the late Sen. John McCain was read aloud Monday at a press conference in Phoenix, by his former campaign manager Rick Davis:

“My fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for sixty years, and especially my fellow Arizonans,

“Thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.

“I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else’s.

“I owe that satisfaction to the love of my family. No man ever had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes – liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people – brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.

“‘Fellow Americans’ – that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process.

“We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.

“We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.

“Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening. I feel it powerfully still.

“Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.

“Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.”

Why One Quarter’s Growth Tells Us Nothing

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A good econ growth comment by Krugman. 

For the most part, reporting on 2nd quarter growth has been pretty decent. But I haven’t seen clear explanations of why one quarter’s growth tells us so little about longer-term growth prospects.

…the economy’s actual output depends both on its capacity – the amount it is capable of producing on a sustained basis – and the rate at which it is using that capacity. That is,

Output = capacity * capacity utilization

So what is going on? What is our capacity and what is our capacity utilization? The long-term and short-term are very different. To understand the long-term growth prospects you must answer two questions:

  • Why does capacity utilization fluctuate?
  • What leads to growth of capacity?

The answer to the first question is fluctuations in demand. The answer to the second question is investment and how consumer demand and economic policy affect the level of investment.

The real news is that we’re still waiting for both the investment surge and the wage gains the tax cutters promised; as far as we can tell, they’re never coming.


Quote of The Week

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To: Sens. Jeff Flake, John McCain, Bob Corker and Susan Collins. From: Robert Reich

Senators, I write you not as a Democrat reaching out to Republicans, or as a former Cabinet member making a request of sitting senators. I write you as a patriotic American concerned about the peril now facing our democracy, asking you to exercise your power to defend it. A foreign power has attacked our democratic institutions and, according to American intelligence, continues to do so. Yet the president of the United States is unwilling to fully acknowledge this, or aggressively stop it. Most of your Republican colleagues in the Senate will not force his hand. As a result, because your party has control of the Senate, there is no effective check on the president — or on Vladimir Putin.

If just two of you changed parties — becoming independent and caucusing with the Democrats — the Republican Party would no longer have a majority in the Senate. The Senate would become a check on the president, as the framers of the Constitution envisioned it would be. And the president could be forced to defend the United States, as the framers intended. I implore you to do so.

Robert Reich

Quote Of The Week

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From Robert Reich

There is no exact definition of a constitutional crisis. Presumably it’s when the United States Constitution is in crisis. And it is in crisis now, today, because the president of the United States is abusing it to entrench his power.

As long as he can get away with it, as long as Republicans who control Congress won’t stand up to him, as long as Americans who oppose this have no capacity to stop him, even though they may be in the majority, this rogue president will do more and more damage to our system of government. And the constitutional crisis will worsen.

A malignant megalomaniac facing no countervailing power will continue to expand his terrain until he is stopped.

Trump’s True Colors & The Gutless Media

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The past week had vividly demonstrated Trump’s True colors and constituents – White Nationalists and Putin. Trumps pattern of behavior was documented in an editorial in todays New Your Times.

My question is why, with the exception of the New York Times, is the news media not calling Trump out. They interview Trump at great length and never, never, question his behavior. Why are they afraid to call him out?

It’s become a pattern: President Trump says something outrageous. He later grudgingly retracts his statement, or members of his administration retract it on his behalf. And then he quickly undermines the retraction.
It happened with the attacks by white supremacists in Charlottesville and with other race-baiting issues. This week alone, the pattern has been visible multiple times, on Russia and NATO.
So what explains it? What could Trump possibly be accomplishing with this blatant dissembling?
Something important and devious, actually. He is sending two different messages, each intended for a different audience.
With the initial statement, he’s talking to his primary audience. Often, that audience is his political base, and Trump is signaling that he’s with them: He, too, is a white nationalist, or at the very least he’s sympathetic to them. He believes that dark-skinned people live in miserable countries, that Mexicans are rapists, that Muslims should be banned from America and that some white supremacists are “very fine people.”
Over the past week, for whatever reason, Trump’s primary audience has seemed to be Vladimir Putin. Trump repeatedly sent messages that Putin must have liked — that NATO is a mess, that Russia didn’t interfere in the election and that the Trump administration would consider handing over an American citizen to Putin’s government for questioning.

Another quote – from the Hive:

Good morning! It was yet another temple-scratching day in the Hive newsroom, dear reader, as the Russophilic leader of the free world continued to vacillate about what he did, or didn’t, mean in Helsinki with all the candor and credibility of a hostage reading a ransom note.

Trump’s No Deals

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Again facts from Robert Reich: Donald Trump during a Republican debate: “I know deals, I think, better than anybody knows deals.”

Robert Reich in a July 8 , 2018 blog post: “Rubbish. So far, Trump has made no deals at all, and the ones he thinks he’s made have unraveled.” — The no deal list is impressive:

  • The Reality He has no deal with North Korea.
  • Trump has no trade deals, either. Instead, he’s launched simultaneous trade wars with Europe, China, Canada, and Mexico.
  • Trump has no deal on Iran, either. No deal on Syria. No deal on the Qatar blockade. No deal on Israel and the Palestinians.
  • Trump has no deal on climate change. He simply pulled out of the Paris accords.
  • No deal with the Group of 7 leading economic powers. He merely refused to sign the communiqué his own team had agreed to
  • No deal with NATO countries on increasing their military spending.
  • He got no deal on replacing the Affordable Care Act, so Trump is quietly repealing it administratively. At least 5 million people will lose coverage.
  • No deal on gun control.
  • No deal on DACA or immigration.
  • The tax deal wasn’t really Trump’s – it was a deal between the Republican Senate and Republican House, with Trump bloviating from the sidelines.

One of the biggest cons from the biggest conman to occupy the Oval Office is that he’s a dealmaker.

He’s not. All he really knows is how to bully friends, stage photo ops with enemies, and claim victory.

7 Truths About Immigration

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7 Truths With Supporting Evidence. From Robert Reich:

1. A record high of 75 percent of Americans now say immigration is a “good thing” for the country.

2. America needs more immigrants, not fewer, because our population is rapidly aging.

3. Historically, new immigrants have contributed more to society in taxes than they have taken from society in terms of public assistance.

4. Most immigrants don’t take jobs away from native-born Americans. To the contrary, their spending creates more jobs.

5. Trump’s claim that undocumented immigrants generate more crime is dead wrong. Both legal and undocumented immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States.

6. Violent crime rates in America are actually at historical lows, with the homicide rate back to its level from the early 1960s.

7. Illegal border crossings have been declining since 2014 – long before Trump’s “crackdown.” There is no “surge” in illegal immigration.

True Meaning of Patriotism – Trump & The Republican Party

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The True Test of Patriotism. Robert Reich, Point by Point:

On this coming Fourth of July, it’s worth pondering the true meaning of American patriotism – as opposed to the malignant, distorted view of it propounded by Donald J. Trump.

The poems of Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes, and the songs of Woody Guthrie, expressed loving devotion to America while turning that love into a demand for justice.

“This land is your land, this land is my land” sang Guthrie. “Let America be America again,” pleaded Hughes:  “The land that never has been yet–/And yet must be – the land where everyone is free./The land that’s mine – the poor man’s, Indian’s Negro’s, ME –.”

Trump’s patriotism centers on symbolic displays of loyalty like standing for the national anthem and waving the American flag. But such displays haven’t been at the center of American patriotism, either. Historically, American patriotism has meant taking a fair share of the burdens of keeping the nation going.

  • This includes volunteering time and energy to improving the community and country. It has meant paying taxes in full rather than lobbying for lower taxes, seeking tax loopholes, or squirreling away money abroad.
  • It also means refraining from making political contributions that corrupt our politics, and blowing the whistle on abuses of power even at the risk of losing one’s job.
  • Real patriotism involves strengthening our democracy – defending the right to vote and ensuring more Americans are heard, not claiming without evidence that millions of voted fraudulently and pushing for laws that make it harder for blacks and Latinos to vote.
  • True patriots don’t inundate government with industry lobbyists, attack the freedom of the press, criticize judges who disagree with them, or fill the airwaves with lies. They don’t direct employers to fire employees who exercise their freedom of speech.
  • True patriots don’t court foreign dictators, and don’t excuse tyranny by denigrating America.
  • When asked whether Vladimir Putin is a killer, Trump responded “you think our country’s so innocent?” When asked about Turkish strongman Erdogan’s disdain for civil liberties, Trump said “when the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”
  • True patriots don’t fuel racist, religious or ethnic divisions. They aren’t homophobic or sexist. To the contrary, true patriots seek to confirm and strengthen and celebrate the “we” in “we the people of the United States.”

Losing Our National Identity?

Trump is the first United States president to use the term “we” to refer only to his supporters. “My supporters are the smartest, strongest, most hard working and most loyal that we have seen in our countries history,” he tweeted recently. “As we get stronger, so does our country.”

A majority of today’s Americans do worry that the nation is losing its national identity. But that identity has never been centered on our support for a particular president or his policies.

Nor, more fundamentally, has our identity depended on the whiteness of our skin or the uniformity of our ethnicity. Our national identity has been our shared ideals.

If we are losing our national identity it is because we are losing those ideals:

  • a commitment to the rule of law,
  • to our democratic institutions, to truth,
  • to tolerance of our differences, to equal political rights and equal opportunity,
  • to participating in our civic life and making necessary sacrifices for these ideals we hold in common.

We must share these ideals if we are to have a functioning society. Without them, there is no America. Trump is doing everything he can to destroy these ideals. We must do everything we can to strengthen them.

This is the true test of our patriotism.


Quotes of The Week

Published / by Stephen

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Pruitt  is the symptom. Trump is the disease — Willie Brown

A racist, pervert and homophobe walk into a bar. The bartender asks “what would you like Mr Trump?” — Unknown Source